Episode 2: CSC badge and ACEP – Explanation of abbreviations and inspection criteria


The “Conventionfor Safe Containers” was adopted by the IMO(International Maritime Organization) in 1972 and incorporated into German law in 1976 with its publication in the Federal Law Gazette.

This is a set of rules designed to ensure that all container manufacturers and owners worldwide manufacture, test and repair the means of transport according to uniform criteria. The regulations are technically consolidated by a number of ISO standards.

The CSC rule stipulates that containers must be regularly inspected after they are put into service and repaired if necessary. The first test period is 5 years and all subsequent periods are 2 ½ years or 30 months.

The inspection date must be visible on the CSC sticker, which every seaworthy container must have. The letters and numbers on the sticker must be at least 5 mm in size and must also be permanently legible.

The CSC badge can be viewed in three sections:

Upper third

  • Issue of the CSC rule under which container construction was approved – GB (Great Britain) is the country abbreviation in the example image.
  • Approval authority (BV=Bureau Veritas) and the year
  • Type designation of the container at the manufacturer
  • Serial number of the container at the manufacturer

Middle third

  • Owner or operator of the container
  • Information on the treatment of the wooden floor and year
  • Manufacturer of the container

Lower third

  • ID number for the approval of this container
  • Commissioning month/year
  • ID number of the container
  • max. Total mass in kg/LBS
  • shear force on the structure of the container is damaged
  • Field for the due test date or ACEP registration

The font size of “CSC SAFETY APPROVAL” must be at least 8 mm.


Even if many containers have obvious damage, they must comply with the CSC rules. The inspection according to CSC or ACEP is carried out in accordance with the regulations of the Instituteof International Container Lessors(IICL)“, the worldwide organization of container lessors. These regulations describe in detail the types of damage/damage that must be repaired.

Dimensional tolerances are specified and also the way in which a repair must be carried out properly. For example, in the form that holes in the floor up to max. 22 mm diameter may be repaired with hardwood plugs if they are no closer than 50 mm to the edge of the base plate.

As soon as the empty container arrives at the depot, it is visually inspected by a container checker. This determines whether the container is OK and only needs to be cleaned or whether a more detailed inspection is required with regard to the repair costs.

Inspection criteria

The picture shows an excerpt from the inspection criteria (source: HCS-Hamburg)

Experience shows that the repair costs for damage are often charged to the last user of the container. All container users are therefore well advised to check the container carefully and document any defects in a checklist and with photos. In addition, in critical cases, the shipping company/forwarding agent should be consulted before loading in order to coordinate the further procedure. This helps to prevent unpleasant surprises.

What are the special technical features of the container? That will be the subject of the next episode.

Yours, Sigurd Ehringer

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